Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Confined to the palace and attacks on Iraq's LGBT community


So Barry met with Nouri yesterday and Nouri had to come to him. And not one damn outlet remarked upon that. Barack Obama, the president of the United States, allegedly Mr. Change, went to Iraq, landed at the airport surrounded by Camp Victory, quickly hightailed in an armed motorcade to a palace on Camp Victory and received people there. He could not venture out.

The excuse the White House tried to float was "dust". Golly, dust didn't prevent Nouri or Iraqi President Jalal Talabani from meeting with him on the safety of the US military base.

Barack couldn't travel to Baghdad. He could only land in and stay on the US military base. And they want to pretend that things are safe in Iraq? And they want to pretend that Barack represents change?

The US media continues to LIE and play like this is normal. It's not normal. It was never normal. Foreign leaders go to Iraq all the time. They actually visit Iraq.

Those who pay attention will remember this issue coming up in April of last year. April 8, 2008, Ryan Crocker, US Ambassador to Iraq, and General David Petraeus were doing their days of testimony and that afternoon popped in on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Barbara Boxer had some questions and observations:

She then focused on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noting, "The Bush administration told the American people more than five years ago that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq and supporters of the war said that they would be dancing in the street with American flags." That didn't happen and not only did that not happen but when Ahmadinejad goes to Iraq, he's greeted warmly while Bully Boy has to sneak "in, in the dead of the night." She wondered, "Do you agree that after all we have done, after all the sacrifices, and God bless all of our troops . . ., that Iran is stronger and more influential than ever before?"

Crocker wanted to debate that reality. He stated it was just militias. Boxer pulled out reports that demonstrated it wasn't, where Ahmadinejad was greeted warmly even by children who gave him flowers, kissed him on both cheeks. "I'm saying that after all we have done," Boxer declared, "the Iraqi government kissing the Iranian leader and our president has to sneak into the country -- I don't understand it." Crocker still wanted to argue leading Boxer to respond, "I give up. It is what it is. They kissed him on the cheek. . . . He had a red carpet treatment and we are losing our sons and daughters every day for the Iraqi people to be free. . . . It is disturbing."

Last year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could walk (with his guards) throughout Baghdad and be greeted warmly. Barack can't even be Humvee-ed into Baghdad. And Ahmadinejad didn't keep his visit a secret. It was known well ahead of time.

Nothing changed with the election in November. Barack's continuing Bully Boy Bush's illegal war and, most importantly, he's no more welcome in Iraq than is Bully Boy. No, he didn't get a shoe tossed at him . . . yet. Neither did Bully Boy until his polls numbers had fallen and he was on the way out.

Like a coward, the US president had to slink into Iraq and had to remain hidden away on the US military base. That's disgusting. All the more so when you grasp how other leaders move freely. And Tony Blair did. Bush's poodle moved freely.

Timothy Williams and Tareq Maher's "Iraq’s Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder" makes the front page of this morning's New York Times. The article notes the ongoing attacks on Iraq's LGBT community and points out that the last two months have seen at least 25 allegedly gay males turn up dead in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad: "Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word 'pervert' in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said." They speak with 23-year-old Basima who explains he's lost three friends who were killed en route to a cafe. (If he prefers to be called "Basima," that's what the New York Times should call him throughout the story. He should be referred to as "Basima" throughout and the sentence "'Basim,' who preferred to be called 'Basima' . . ." should instead read, "'Basima,' whose legal name is 'Basim' . . .") Iraqi police say the ones doing the killings are family members. And where do they learn to kill their own? If they are indeed the killers, they can 'thank' clerical instruction. They can also think disgusting trash like Lt. Muthana Shaad who will be featured at Third this weekend. We'll begin doing what the US government-military was too dumb ass to do though they kept wanting to and failing. (Didn't help that they hired the idiots of the entertainment industry. But that's all that was willingly work with them and their illegal war. As noted before, I was surprised with a walked-through meeting via a friend at the State Dept -- an unplanned meeting -- and I offered a two-minute summary of how they could speak to the Iraqi people. Perception sailed over their heads and I refused to go further. I wouldn't have gone to such a meeting had it been explained to me ahead of time. I'm not Monty McFatty. A real idiot who also doesn't grasp that not only is she destroying her field of study but she's highly ineffective at whoring -- well, no surprise there, look at her. They have no idea how you transmit values or how society does. They're idiots.) So piece of trash Muthana Shaad will be dealt with at Third. Probably repeatedly from now on.

The US looks the other way while the Iraqi police do their 'crackdowns' on gays and lesbians. This after the US installed the Shi'ite thugs in the first place. Prior to the start of the illegal war, Iraq had a thriving LGBT community. The reporters note Naomi Klein's BFF Ali al-Sistani issuing his fatawa on gay people ("The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.") Naturally, Naomi never said a peep. Even though this fatawa was issued long after she'd begun praising al-Sistani in public. Some people believe 'democracy' starts and ends with them and screw everyone else.

The reporters state, "Publicly, the Iraqi police have acknowledged only the deaths of six gay men in the neighborhood. But privately, police officials say the figure is far higher." That's incorrect. I didn't have time in yesterday's snapshot to note that. But Monday's snapshot included this:

In other violence noted over the weekend, Wisam Mohammed and Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) reported Saturday that gays are being targeted in Baghdad, with four corpses discovered March 25th and 2 gay men murdered Thursday 'after clerics urged a crackdown'." Sunday Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported the two were first "disowned" (by their homophobic and hateful families) and "The shootings came after a tribal meeting was held and the members decided to go after the victims." Tawfeeq reports the other were also disowned (and gives the date of their deaths as March 26th) and states a cafe in Sadr City was torched when it was said to be an LGBT hangout in Baghdad. The Dallas Morning News wrote a brief on the topic and UPI summarized Tawfeeq's report. AFP reported Sunday that the two corpses discovered Thursday "had pieces of paper attached on which was written the word 'Pervert" and that the two men were aged sixteen and eighteen and had also had "their arms and legs broken". In addition, AFP reports another man presumed to be gay was found on Friday -- which would bring the toll to seven -- and this follows Sheikh Jassem al-Muatairi's 'inspiring' sermon denouncing "new private practices by some men who dress like women, who are effeminate. I call on families to prevent their children from following such a lifestyle."

Seven. AFP's Sunday report made it seven. Four on March 25th, two last Thursday and one last Friday. AFP's article was entitled "Three homosexuals shot dead in Iraq: ministry" -- two on Thursday, one on Friday. AFP cites "a defence ministry official" as their source.

I would also argue the reporters are too quick to accept the police explanation (they blame the families for the murders and not militias). Why would you trust the police on this issue of responsibility? The same police station from which at Lt goes on the record, by name, stating that gays are "disgusting"? You're going to pretend that such a police station really gives a damn about who is killing gays?

"He said families typically refused to cooperate with the investigation or even to claim the bodies," no surprise there considering who staffs the police department and their attitudes. "No arrests have been made in the killings." No surprise there either considering who staffs the police department and their attitudes. Sadrist Abu Mahuaned al-Diraji denies that clerics' attacks on LGBTs is responsible and insists, "All we are doing is giving advice to people to take care of their sons." The reporters add:

He acknowledged, however, that some of the killing had been committed by members of "special groups," or death squads.
"In general, it is the families that are killing the gay son, but I know that there are gunmen involved in this, too," he said. "But we disavow anybody committing this kind of crime and we encourage the people to follow the law."

It's an important article on an important topic and it comes at a time of silence. For example, the United Nations Secretary-General issued the following on Monday regarding the bombings in Baghdad:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the string of bombings that struck a marketplace and other locations in Baghdad today, killing a large number of civilians and injuring many others. The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the deceased.
The Secretary-General is confident that the people of Iraq will reject these reprehensible attempts to provoke sectarian violence in the country. He urges them to continue undeterred in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and national reconciliation. The United Nations remains committed to supporting the Iraqi people toward these ends.

Yet he has never issued a statement on the slaughter of the LGBT community in Iraq. The United Nations which allegedly is interested in protecting everyone. Allegedly.

That is why San Francisco's measure (to be deliberated on Thursday morning) is important even if it's only symbolic. No one is speaking up. No international body is calling out the crimes -- hate crimes -- and murders. Everyone's looking the other way. We noted the Board of Supervisor meeting in yesterday's snapshot and Marisa Lagos (San Francisco Chronicle) did a post on the meeting:

The Board of Supervisors rushed through its weekly meeting today to get to the SF Giant's opening day on time -- but the group did manage to take care of some city business including approving a development plan for the Balboa Park area and introducing legislation on budget reform, the Armenian genocide, gay immigrants' rights, violence against gays in Iraq and a labor organizing campaign at two local hotels. (Hey, we didn't say it all made sense, just that it occurred quickly.)

Rod Nordland's "Former Hussein Aide Surfaces; Iraqi Premier Blames Baathists for Bombings " appears in today's New York Times and we'll try to get to it in today's snapshot. Sam Dagher's
"A Moment of Heroism After a Blast in Baghdad" and on another day it would get attention. It may not today. Laith Hammoudi covers the same story in "Infant survives Baghdad car bombing that killed 8" (McClatchy Newspapers). For those wondering whether to click or not, a bombing caught another car on fire. The driver (hired by a young woman -- apparently a mother) died as did the woman. A young infant was still alive in the burning car and was rescued. The e-mail address for this site is

the new york times